Toyota Corolla Saloon (97 - 04) Owner reviews

No longer on sale

VVT-i T3 4dr

  • Overall verdict3/5
  • What it's like to drive3/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality3/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

Like one other previous reviewer the car I have driven was a 1.8 automatic (this time a US hire car). I drove the Corolla for about 100 miles around the San Francisco bay area, and generally found the car to be a good drive. The 1.8 feels quick enough for most situations, and the automatic gearbox seems to be reasonably smooth. The biggest problem with this car is the driver's seat - it's simply not comfortable, and in fact gave me back ache for several days afterwards. If it wasn't for that I'd rate the driving experience as a 4 - much better than the Auris which replaced it. The Corolla was extremely economical by US standards, though I suspect over here it would simply be on a par with most other 1.6/1.8 petrol autos. In other words, ok for the type of car, but not up to the best in class. Toyotas are generally reliable so I would guess repair costs should be few and far between. The interior seemed a little cramped in the back, and the boot could certainly have been bigger. The general dashboard and switchgear was dull but functional. So again, pretty decent, but could be better. With a more comfortable seat this would be better than all but a Focus of similar age - a decent buy if you can live with the seats.

Fredrik Rich, West Yorkshire, September 25th 2007

VVT-i T3 4dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

It has been almost two years since I bought my new Corolla XLi 1.8 petrol model (not listed in What Car?). I have driven this car 50,000km and it still feels like the same new car. I am very happy that I made the right choice with buying the Corolla and I recommend everyone to buy it. One thing that bothers me is the continuous loss of front and back side screws that hold the side and mud guards to the main body - it is not a serious problem but it is anoying. It's a great car - it keeps impressing me with its power and smooth driving. Go and by it today, I would again and again.

I. Elia, March 2nd 2007

D-4D T2 4dr

  • Overall verdict3/5
  • What it's like to drive3/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality2/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I have owned and driven a 2.0 Corolla D4D since January 2004. The car is quiet, economical, pulls well and brakes well too. All in all it is not at all a bad car. However quite frankly, I expected 100% quality from Toyota and I feel I did not get that. Apparently the saloon was assembled in Turkey and it seems that Toyota do not impose their renowned level of quality control on the cars they build there. For example, the front ashtray showed signs of rust after a few weeks, as it had not been sprayed, but just left as bare metal. Admittedly not the end of the world, but it does set one to thinking that if something that visible was overlooked, could not something really important and unseen have equally been overlooked ? I also had a stain on the windscreen which the dealer somehow "removed", but which still gives me visibility problems on cold misty days. A gap also appeared just between the stereo and the dashboard top. I was informed that Toyota know about this problem and have solved it by re-designing the dash in their 2004 model, but this does not help much in my situation ! I could live with all that, but my main problem is not the car but the attitude shown by the local dealership, which has no concept whatsoever of customer service. Unfortunately there is only one dealer here and they can therefore get away with anything. Clearly a test drive is not enough when making such a hefty investment...

Joe Borg, June 18th 2006

VVT-i T3 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I own a Middle Eastern type Corolla (I live in Lebanon). It was built in Japan in January 2005. It is called the XLI Model - it is the top trim level version unlike the GLI, the only difference between the two being the alloy wheels and the additional airbag. They all come with automatic transmision, as no manual transmision option is available this year in the Middle East. The engine is bigger than the European type, with a 1.8-litre petrol VVTI engine. It is a strong and smooth-running car, even while the air conditioning is running and driving up a steep hill. The 2005 Corolla is a nice, roomy car and I recommend it to all savvy buyers who know where to put their money.

I. Elia, January 29th 2006

VVT-i T2 4dr

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I own the Singapore version of this car. It's a 1.6LX made in Japan. The same as the UK version but without a heater only air-con cooling (for the tropical climate). My car was built in June 2001 and delivered to me on 3rd August 2001. I leased it for 2 years and then purchased it at a discount from the leasing company. It's now covered over 38,000 trouble-free miles (62,000 kilometres). It is comfortable and roomy, easy and fun to drive. The engine is powerful and smooth enough to deliver adequate performance whilst returning exclllent economy. It usually manages between 38mpg and 42mpg in mostly city driving. The handling and grip are good. The only negative point I can think of is the relatively short gearing. It feels like it could handle a much higher top gear. Overall, I'm very pleased with the car and plan to keep it for another 2 years. There's no reason to change it before then. It runs beautifully.

Jonathan Lloyd, October 18th 2004

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